Easy Ways To Get Started On Your Estate Plan
Estate Planning Lawyer
The idea of having to write an estate plan can feel overwhelming, so don’t put it off. An estate plan is pivotal to ensuring that your assets are distributed to the beneficiaries you intend. Because the task of drafting an estate plan can be complex and state laws should be considered, it helps to contact a lawyer experienced in estate plan law for guidance. Here are a few easy tips to get you started:
Write Up Your Will
Drafting a will is one of the basic strategies of an estate plan, as this document describes how you want your assets to be distributed after your passing. Unfortunately, many people never draft a will at all. Without one, an estate will be divided up in probate court, where the state may ultimately decide who gets money and assets.
List Your Beneficiaries
An impactful way to avoid probate is to appoint beneficiaries for your assets. Certain accounts, such as life insurance and retirement funds, should have beneficiaries named on them so they shall receive that asset. It’s important to review the information for beneficiaries after life changes, such as birth of children, divorce, marriage, etc.
Establish a Trust
If you are concerned that your heirs won’t utilize your funds wisely, you can create a trust and appoint a trustee to distribute the wealth. Trusts can be set up in various ways, however, irrevocable trusts offer the most benefits tax-wise. When funds are put into a trust that is irrevocable, assets no longer belong to you. Instead, they belong to the trust itself. Then, the money cannot be subjected to estate taxes. A trustee will control the money, but you can write stipulations for how it’s used, and money can be distributed while you’re still alive.